With New York acquiring another Home-Run machine in Giancarlo Stanton to add to their already well-oiled batting engine, the rest of the American League East is looking to combat that power to stay relevant and competitive.
The Toronto Blue Jays have made it clear that they are interested in acquiring some pitching depth, so how does what they already have, and what is potentially available fare already against the National League MVP?
As the Winter Meetings in Orlando draw to a close, clubs are all still trying to make the free-agent signing, or trade, that will make the world stop as much as they did when the Los Angeles Angels signed Shohei Ohtani or when New York Yankees traded for National League MVP, Giancarlo Stanton. For the Toronto Blue Jays, it has been a quiet off-season thus far; outfield depth and pitching arms seem to be the key, as well as working out how to compete in the American League East especially against the Yankees and their new biggest bat.
The Jays are going to have to face the Yankees 19 times through the course of the 2018 season, so between 3 and 4 starts per starting pitcher and approximately 76 at-bats for Stanton if he stays healthy. As Stanton has spent the majority of his career in the National League, not too many Jays pitchers have ever pitched to Stanton; of the projected starting rotation for 2018, only Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ have pitched to him previously (according to rotowire.com).
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In 11 ABs, Estrada has struck out Stanton 6 times – that’s good, right? He’s also been hit for 3 home runs and a double, a batting line of .364. Happ has only struck out Stanton twice but has only been hit for one long-ball and a double in 6 ABs, a batting average of .222. So maybe a starting pitcher with a good record against the NL MVP should be top of the shopping list – who fits that bill?
Brendan Panikkar wrote here for Jays Journal about why C.C. Sabathia may be a good fit for the Jays after meeting during the winter meetings; Stanton has 1 home run from two hits in 3 ABs against Sabathia – a batting average of .667. Compare that to leading free-agent arm Jake Arrieta, and there is only one arm the Jays should be pursuing. Arrieta has held Stanton to a batting average of .182 from 11ABs having struck him out twice – 1 home run from 2 hits. Jaime Garcia has been hit for 3 bombs on 7 hits from 12 ABs – an average of .583.
Finding someone who has Stanton covered isn’t the Jays primary focus of course, but finding someone to add to the rotation is, and considering they are likely going to come up against the MVP once or twice, their respective records pitching to Stanton may well be something worth considering.